Wednesday, May 30, 2012


THE DARING BAKERS' MAY 2012 CHALLENGE: Challah Back, Y'all!

This months challenge was hosted by Ruth H over at The Crafts of Mommyhood
For me the challenge seemed to be getting all my ducks lined up to get my post done.
I was thrilled to see that Challah Bread as the challenge for this month.  Its a favourite around here and now that we have finally sold our house and prepare to move it was nice to see an easy one..... 
Not so much!
The bread part was easy... fitting in the time to get it done and then post about it wasn't so easy.  
I like to do my challenge on a nice sunny day because it makes for better pictures.  The day I got to my bread it was sunny... and cold!  Not a nice day for trying to raise bread dough so I thought I would give one of the ideas I seen on Pinterest a try...

Yup!  Thats my heating pad, and it worked like a charm! I had beautifully risen dough in about an hour even with a chilly kitchen.







I decided on a 4 strand braid for my loaves, one with dried currants and one just plain using the recipe provided by Ruth for Honey Challah.  The recipe can be found here at Tammy's recipes. 


I will definitely be keeping this recipe handy.  The bread came out perfectly!
Well.... except for my addition of dried cranberries.... didn't get those mixed in as good as I thought.
 Jabba the Bread anyone?

All in all it was a great challenge.  Thanks Ruth!  I had alot of fun making bread with you!



Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Daring Bakers Challenge April 2012



I'm so late this month posting the results for last months challenge! 
April was so busy for us I'm surprised I got it done at all.
The first week we were gone to Las Vegas (nice birthday present huh?)
Then I was down for almost a week after having some dental work done.
Add on top of that 3 different birthday cakes (not including my own.. which 
they did not make me bake) 
Fitting the challenge in was a bit of a .... challenge. 
So for April... 

Armenian Nazook & Nutmeg Cake

This months challenge was hosted by Jason over at dailycandor.com.
As a nod to his Armenian roots we were challenged to make either Armenian Nazook
or Nutmeg cake.  I just couldn't manage to fit in another cake this month but did make 
the Nazook. 
Nazook is an Armenian pastry that I had never heard of but am oh so glad I have now! 
The yummy rolls of pastry did not last long around here!

 The dough was extremely easy to work with.  Rolled out and cut like a dream!

And baked up beautifully.
I followed the recipe (that you can find on Jason's blog)  almost to a T... I doubled the amount of vanilla , just because I love vanilla!  Then I added cinnamon and nutmeg to half of the filling but with the amount of vanilla I had in there you couldn't really taste it.  Next time I'll leave out the vanilla for that half.
I will definitely be making these again and have a feeling they will become a favourite around here.  The recipe made quite alot so I may attempt halving it or even freezing some unbaked and see how they bake up later.  So many different fillings would work in here as well... can't wait to make some more and get experimenting!
Thanks Jason for a great challenge, I will be making the nutmeg cake soon!



Tuesday, March 27, 2012

March 2012 Daring Bakers Challenge





THE DARING BAKERS' MARCH 2012 CHALLENGE: Lions, Tigers, and Bears, oh my!

Tiger bread... giraffe bread... dutch crunch bread,  what ever you call it it is yummy. 
This months challenge was to make Dutch Crunch bread and then make a sandwich with the bread you made.  Pretty easy.... or not.

This months challenge was hosted by Sara and Erica from Baking JDs and they did a great job!
I used the recipes just as they provided... will have time for experimentation later in the month.
My first attempt didn't rise like it was supposed to so I really thought it was a bust.  But after giving it a try... hey it was baked anyways... we found a dense yummy loaf.  I did come out more like a quick bread than a yeast bread with a heavier crumb and texture but it still tasted wonderful and made great sandwiches.


Started out like it should have. Nice smooth loaves.  
After a couple hours of rise they weren't very high but I decided to go with them anyways and added the topping. 




After baking, still not much noticeable rise. 
See the nice crackle on the topping though?! I'd say more giraffe than tiger...
We still ended up with some yummy sandwiches.  
Sliced chicken breast with brie, apples and spinach... YUM!


Overall I would say it that my breads didn't come out too badly but I wanted to give it another try. 

My ever present assistants kept trying to convince
me to make cheese bread.

 For my second try I used the same
recipe for the topping but for the bread I used a honey white bread that I found here.

The bread rose up beautifully in about an hour and baked up to a nice soft white loaf.


The honey didn't add any noticeable flavour.. may have to try adding more next time. 
Still got that great crackle on top too.
We didn't make sandwiches this time but had the bread slathered with butter with our breakfast for dinner that night. 


In both attempts I found the recipe for the topping made way too much for two loaves.  The second batch I tossed the extra in a jar in the fridge and we'll see how it holds over for another day.
Thanks Sara and Erica... great job on hosting!  Was a fun challenge!



Monday, February 27, 2012

THE DARING BAKERS’ FEBRUARY, 2012 CHALLENGE: Quick! Gimme a Flavor! ;)

This months challenge was hosted by Lis, one of the co-founders of The Daring Kitchen.
Quickbreads!  So many different variations can be made for this one!

For my first submission I made a Bacon and Cheddar Loaf with caramalized onions.
Didn't take pictures of the work in progress but I got one of the finished product.
Really should have used some parchment paper for this one!  I would still have to call this cooking trial a success since there was a bit of fighting over who got to eat the part that was stuck on the bottom.  Was so looking forward to a slice for breakfast.. no such luck it was all gone by then. 
For this loaf I just used a basic quickbread recipe and added about 1/4 cup cooked and crumbled bacon (I tried to make sure it was very well cooked so there would be less grease), a cup of shredded old cheddar and 1/2 an onion diced small and caramalized in a touch of butter.   
I may lower the amount of cheese next time as I found it was still a bit on the greasy side but the super crisp bacon softened up nicely. 

For my second attempt I made a double chocolate loaf with peanut butter chips.  YUM
I adapted the recipe from The Very Best of Baking.  This was actually my first time visiting the site and I was quite impressed.  So many new things I want to make. 
I used regular chocolate chips and peanut butter chips in place the of the mini morsels it called for but pretty much followed everything else.  Oh and I didn't make the Chocolate Honey Butter though I was sorely tempted.  This loaf really didn't need it anyways. 

Too much stuff?
Nah!! There can never be too much stuff!


MMMMMMmmmm
Thanks Lis for a very fun challenge.  Looking forward to seeing all the submissions for this month! 



Sunday, February 26, 2012

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Where do I want to go?

I've been trying to decide which direction I want to take my blog in.  Do I want it to be serious, or casual. Something I need to work at and keep up with or something for posting occasionally.
I think I'm going to try something in the middle.  I will of course be blogging about by Daring Bakers Challenge successes and failures.   I would like to share my love of what I like to call food porn,  gorgeous pictures of food from around the world.  I would love to become a better photographer myself .. of everything not just food.
Guess I won't be just Cooking by Trial and Error but blogging that way as well.
I'll leave you with a snippet of food porn....

Friday, February 17, 2012

Birthday Cakes

I really enjoy making and decorating cakes.  I'm hoping to take some classes and maybe do some cakes on the side (can you have a 'side' job when you're basically retired?)
This one is a basic chocolate cake (yeah yeah its from a mix) with raspberry filling (from a can).
BUT I did make the buttercream from scratch and decorated by myself.
Hope the birthday girl likes it, even though its a couple weeks late!